Australian Vaping Regulations Are Changing: Here’s What You Need to Know


Australian Vaping Regulations Are Changing: Here’s What You Need to Know

In this article, Premium Vape explains the 1 October 2021 changes to the nicotine e-liquid vaping laws in Australia for our Australian customer base.

Here at Premium Vape, Australian vapers comprise a major portion of our customer base. If you’re an Australian, we value your business and consider it our responsibility to help you remain informed about the changing laws in your country. Beginning on 1st October 2021, the vaping laws in Australia pertaining to e-liquid with nicotine are changing. In this article, we’ll do our best to explain the changes and help you understand what you need to do in order to continue buying nicotine e-liquid from Premium Vape.

What’s Changing About Australia’s Vaping Regulations?

The truth is that calling the update to Australia’s vaping regulations a “change” is actually slightly misleading. In order to buy e-liquid with nicotine in Australia, you must have a doctor’s prescription explaining that you require the e-liquid for therapeutic use. The prescription requirement isn’t new. In fact, buying e-liquid with nicotine in Australia has always required a prescription. The prescription requirement, however, has only been lightly enforced until now. The requirement was so lightly enforced, in fact, that many people were unaware of its existence and simply ordered e-liquid online as they would any other product. Beginning on 1st October 2021, that’s no longer going to be possible because Australia intends to begin strictly enforcing the prescription requirement on that date.

If you were already aware of Australia’s prescription requirement for the personal importation of e-liquid with nicotine, nothing will change for you. If you already have a current prescription for nicotine, you can continue buying e-liquid as you always have.

Why Has Australia Strengthened Its Prescription Requirement for E-Liquid with Nicotine?

As mentioned above, Australia’s “new” requirement that you obtain a prescription before buying e-liquid with nicotine isn’t actually new at all. Before now, though, the regulation was so loosely enforced that many people didn’t even know about it. In 2020, Australian Health Minister Greg Hunt proposed to change that by banning all personal imports of e-liquid and requiring Australian vapers to obtain their vape juice from pharmacies instead. That proposal, however, faced significant backlash from Australian vapers and from Hunt’s fellow members of Parliament. Hunt walked back on the proposal to ban e-liquid imports, initially delaying it until January 2021 before abandoning the ban completely and opting to strengthen Australia’s prescription requirement instead.

Ostensibly, the strengthening of the prescription requirement is intended to make vaping products difficult or impossible for teens to obtain while allowing those products to remain available – even though the process may not be simple – for adults who need them.

What Do I Need to Do to Continue Buying E-Liquid in Australia?

If you are currently importing vaping products with nicotine from abroad or want to start doing so, you need to obtain a prescription for nicotine e-liquid as quickly as possible and must do so by 1st October 2021.

For the most part, obtaining a prescription for e-liquid shouldn’t be difficult. You’ll simply make an appointment with your primary care physician and explain to him or her that you’re a smoker or former smoker and require a prescription for e-liquid because you have been unable to quit by other means.

Some Australian vapers have commented that the process of obtaining prescriptions for e-liquid hasn’t been easy for them. Some doctors have been unwilling to write the prescriptions, perhaps because they don’t know much about vaping and would prefer to prescribe smoking cessation options that have been studied more extensively and are known to be safe. However with an estimated 500,000 vapers in Australia we’re expecting the process will become easier as 1stOctober approaches.

If you do have difficulty obtaining a prescription for e-liquid with nicotine, the Australian Tobacco Harm Reduction Association has a list of doctors who can help.

In some cases, you can even do the consultation online rather than going to an appointment in person, which can make the process easier and faster. QuitClinics for example offer a 100% online prescription service. The process is easy, just complete an online medical questionnaire about your smoking history and vaping habits. An Australian doctor will then review your case within 24 hours and as long as vaping is right for you, issue a 12-month prescription (vaping could be right for you if you are over 18 years old, are a current or ex-smoker and other nicotine replacement therapies haven’t worked for you).

I’m New to Vaping. What Should I Do After Getting My Prescription?

After you obtain your prescription, there are three options for obtaining the e-liquid, although only two of those options are available at the time of writing.

  1. You can bring your prescription to a compounding pharmacy and have the pharmacy make the e-liquid. There aren’t many compounding pharmacies in Australia, though, and not all of the pharmacies that do exist will have the necessary ingredients for making e-liquid. You may also find that the flavour selection is limited.
  2. You can buy commercial e-liquid from a pharmacy that has imported it. For that to happen, the product must be approved as a medicine by the Therapeutic Goods Administration and added to the Australian Register of Therapeutic Goods. At the time of writing, those things haven’t happened with any product, so this option isn’t presently available.
  3. You can import the product of your choice from an overseas seller such as Premium Vape. This is the option that gives you the greatest variety of product choices, so it’s the option that most vapers choose.

If you opt to buy your e-liquid from abroad via the Personal Importation Scheme, you should be mindful that there are limits as to how much you can import. In a single order, you can import no more than a three month’s supply of vape juice. In a calendar year, you can import no more than a 15 month’s supply. Your prescription will probably provide an approximate guideline as to how much e-liquid constitutes a month’s supply for your needs.

To ensure that you won’t experience difficulties with receiving your e-liquid be ready to show your prescription if queried by the Australian Customs Service. Retailers and shippers are currently investigating making this process easier for you – such as being able to include a copy of the prescription with your order. However, at the time of writing guidelines around this have not yet been published by the TGA.

Want more information about the upcoming changes?

Check out TGAs website for more details about the coming changes and the reasons they are being made.

We’ll also include regular updates in our newsletters and on the Premium Vape websites as we have them. Also check out our Australian Prescriptions page with more details.

Please note the information provided here is for informational purposes only. We cannot and will not offer medical or legal advice. Always talk to your doctor or a health professional. Premium Vape does not endorse or recommend any third party organisations and will not be held responsible for any loss, claim or damage arising out of the use, or misuse, of the suggestions made, the failure to take medical advice or for any material on third party websites.